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iamsparklepants

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In July 2018, I said goodbye to my sweet and gentle Frankie after 19 wonderful years.  I will always miss his constant companionship, his epic snuggles and the way he always looked at me with such pure love in his eyes.

I feel so lucky to have still had my younger cat Beans, and although our bond wasn't the same, she was a quirky and loving companion who I grew even closer to.  We unexpectedly said good bye to her 8 weeks ago after 15 years together.

In the days and weeks since she left us it has been difficult to adjust to a home with no creature to fuss over and play with.  I don't know when I'll be ready to put away the scratching post or food and water dishes, I think it would feel even more empty.  I also can't imagine if or when I'll be ready to open my heart to another kitty.

How have you coped with the empty nest?

(Beans on the left and Frankie on the right, circa 2014 when they were healthy and robust)
FrankandBeans.jpg

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StephanieW

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Hey Sparkle,

My family is also grieving (2 weeks). I believe we may be enduring very similarly. It's difficult to find distractions when emptiness is a cruel and quick reminder of our loss. Especially when our worlds were influenced so heavily with the intense love we shared with our pets. They are so woven into our routine and lives that when taken away it leaves all this empty space. Both in a literal and an emotional sense. I realise despite the relation we share, you may be overcoming your heart ache differently than mine. You are the most familiar with what you need so really take time to reflect, be kind and listen to yourself.

I can relate. We removed his dish. It felt like removing a piece of him and shutting it away saddened me. I can't be without his bed and toys (in sight and in their spots) yet. I think that's okay and that it's important to take your time in knowing when you're ready. There's no shame in still hanging onto Frank'n Beans things while also having them on display if that is what's helping you grieve. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this but I've even gone as far as smelling my cat's bed. To not be able to do that... see it, touch it; that would hurt me. Personally, having these things out in the open actually helps me. It's this odd place of being forced to face a horrid reality and yet somehow strangely comforting. Things like this take time and I know one day it won't hurt as it does now to store it away and cherish it otherwise. It's alright to test your boundaries as well, you can always lay it back in it's proper place if it's uncomfortable.

What I think also helps is instead of taking away from your enviroment, change it! Add to it. Switch your bedding, buy new pillows, alter the position of furniture. It doesn't need to be a huge amount of change but I think it aids in interruption of intrusive thoughts. Take advantage of the upcoming season and buy some decorations. I feel it may help with the change more gently. Especially if family or friends are involved with those changes.

Remember, your wonderful 15/19 years with these beautiful babies is beyond the dishes or clumps of cat fur you find in tiny forgotten corners. They're going to exist beyond that in your memory. If leaving the scratching post out brings you comfort, it's okay. Leave it. Take your time and once you've healed, then you can look towards the future! If you ever choose to adopt again, know that Frankie and Beans live on by equipping you with a unique experience and knowledge. How to love, how to care and unfortunately how to cope. The touch they've had on your life and the effect they had on you as a person has made it so that if you ever do open your heart again, they will be right there with you. All the lessons and love you discovered and acquired together can be put into action. You will know when the time is right, if it ever is. If not, that's okay too. 

You're stronger than you know. Try to enjoy your weekend even though it may be hard.

A warm hug sent to you Sparkle. 


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iamsparklepants

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Stephanie,

I'm so sorry for your loss, it is so recent and I can imagine how you are feeling right now.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me.  I too have taken comfort in the smell of my lost ones favourite pillows and bedding, it is comforting to know that I'm not the only one who has done so and that it isn't unhealthy to still be holding on to the physical reminders of their presence in my life.

I knew it would be hard when they were both gone but I am surprised at how much of my heartbreak about Frankie has resurfaced and how I am grieving him all over again.  Another surprise is the strength of my grief, I was generally coping with it ok a few weeks ago and over the last week it has become almost unbearable again, I guess that is the "coming in waves" part of the process.

Again, thank you for your advice and for taking the time to open up about your experience.

Sparkle 
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StephanieW

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Reply with quote  #4 

Hey Sparkle,

Thank you for your very warm and kind response. That meant a lot to me. I hope by the time you read this, you're feeling a little better. You're right. It's awfully defeating to have done so well one week and then the next you're met with the intense pain of missing them again; as if it's the day they left you. It is certainly like waves. I'm so sorry it hurts this badly, I really wish I could console you properly. "Day by day" they say. You don't realise how true that is until you're here and in it. I think we're going to get better at this though, in time. You're not alone, okay?

Today we received our ashes and paw print. It was sad but I've already planned to buy some small plants for where we keep it. I think it probably hasn't hit me yet, there's also this strange relief of having it. Is there a space or object of memory for Frankie and Beans' passing? Do you have friends or family you can talk to and share in some stories of your gorgeous duo? It helps sometimes.

My heart aches for you Sparkle. Today may be hard, but there are still good days ahead. Stay strong <3


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ArmosMom

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Reply with quote  #5 
Sorry for your loss.  It is so unfair that these loving fur babies cannot live as long as we do.

Shonda

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Totallylost

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Reply with quote  #6 
I am so sorry for your loss. I had 3 babies at one time and they passed 5 years apart, my last cat Rusty passed August 10. I was and am so lost without him. I didn’t want to do anything and didn’t care about anything. One day I looked at rescue cats and this little girl 2 years old looked terrified. I stroked her and then went back 3 more times and she came to me. I didn’t think I was ready for another one but it was like Rusty was saying save her. Well she came home with me. Stayed under the couch a lot of the time, but from day one she slept on the bed with me. I still miss Rusty and have mycrying days but my new cat, Amber, is helping me and I believe I am helping her. She actually met me at the door for the first time 2 days ago. Rusty is always with me and I truly believe he is here with us and is helping her too. Save another cat, your babies will help you chose.
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Courtney

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Reply with quote  #7 
I am so sorry for your loss but I can tell you that I understand! My precious kitty Loki passed in January and then my sweet boxer Cash passed a few weeks ago on October 28. It doesn’t really matter what anyone says you still feel that no one knows the love you shared, and your right! No one can understand our specific bond with our animals but I can tell you that talking about them and sharing the wonderful memories will help with healing and keeping their legacy alive! My prayers are with u! Everyone please pray for me!
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thennowthen

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Reply with quote  #8 
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